Q: What Is Oil Pulling?

By Dr. Cheryl Bresnahan

Some believe that swishing and holding oil in your mouth for 20 minutes will pull toxins and bacteria out of your gum tissues.  This is simply not true.  

All the hype is based on one study that was completed in India.  In the study, one group used oil pulling for 20 minutes and the other group used chlorohexidine gluconate, which is a prescription antibacterial rinse, for 1 minute. 

The chlorohexidine group had less bacteria but the India study only reported on the oil pulling group.  Better yet, they didn’t compare oil pulling to swishing with water for 20 minutes and water should have been the best control to compare to.

Dr. Cheryl Bresnahan is a licensed dentist and the founder of Dental Perfections in Whitewater, WI. If you'd like to ask her a question, please visit the Ask Dr. Cheryl section of our Web site.